Slovakia puts the Czech Republic on its list of COVID-19 risk countries

"The Czech Republic finds itself in a bad situation," Slovak PM Igor Matovic told journalists Monday

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 15.09.2020 07:38 (updated on 15.09.2020)

Bratislava, Sept 14 (CTK) – Slovakia has put the Czech Republic on its list of risky countries as of Friday, and either a negative COVID-19 test or five-day quarantine will be required of arrivals from the neighboring country, the Central Crisis Staff announced late Monday evening.

The decision was presented by the Slovak Foreign Ministry’s State Secretary Martin Klus on social networks and Slovak PM Igor Matovic later confirmed the news to the media.

Bratislava is reacting to the rising number of the current coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic which reached 14,438 on Sunday.

The country’s decision can be expected to restrict the arrivals of Czechs, who in recent years represent the largest group of foreign clientele in Slovak accommodation facilities.

Travelers from the Czech Republic to Slovakia, be required to produce either a negative COVID-19 test not older than 72 hours or quarantine themselves and subsequently undergo the test — with some exceptions.

The duty to produce a negative test or quarantine will not apply to those commuting to work within the 30-km distance from the nearest border crossing. Nor will it apply to students, teachers, researchers, health care workers, farmers, social care workers, those working in the critical infrastructure, and selected athletes and artists, Klus wrote.

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Referring to the Central Crisis Staff’s decision, he wrote that compliance with the directive will be enforced by random checks and cell phone monitoring.

“The Czech Republic finds itself in a bad situation. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for them to reappear on our green list as quickly as possible,” Matovic told journalists.

The PM said that given the strong relations between the Czech Republic and Slovakia, he has proposed a number of exemptions to the travel restrictions between the two states of the former Czechoslovak republic.

Matovic criticised Klus for having released the Crisis Staff’s decision still before he, Matovic, could announce it to his Czech counterpart Andrej Babis.

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Prior to the announcement, Babis told reporters on Monday that the Czech Republic is not a risky country in terms of the coronavirus infection, but added that he understands the position of Slovak PM Matovic with his fragile coalition.

Slovakia’s daily numbers of tested samples have been up to five times lower than the Czech Republic’s, Babis argued.

Slovakia’s list of at-risk countries currently totals 26 states. It will newly include the Czech Republic, Sweden, Bulgaria, and Canada.

Slovakia has not put Austria or Hungary in the red category of risk countries so far, although this could happen any time, Klus wrote.

He said the rules of travelling to Ukraine will be tightened in the days to come. Slovakia’s pandemic commission has proposed a complete closure of the border with Ukraine.

Slovakia, a country with a population of 5.5 million, has also faced a recent increase in the number of the infections. Its highest daily increase, 226 new cases, was recorded in early September.

Matovic said the state would not resort to further restricting the maximum attendance of cultural and sport events nationwide, a measure that is in force in the capital Bratislava for now. As a result, events with up to 500 participants are permitted indoors and up to 1,000 outdoors in Slovakia, except for in the capital city.